Bloggy Moms

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why My Daughter Will Be Eating a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich on Thanksgiving Day

Last week my cousin sent out a group text giving out the details for today's Thanksgiving fete that she and her husband are hosting. Pretty soon my family members were bantering back and forth with tales of past feasts and pictures to prove it. I couldn't help but to pause for a minute. You see out of all of the things listed on the menu, my daughter will not eat one thing. Not the yams that remind me of my mom who has since passed on. Not the green bean casserole prepared by my cousin. Not even the star of the show- the turkey. This saddens me, but we will still make the best of the day. 
 My husband and I have known for years that our daughter is a picky eater. She takes it to a whole other level.  We tell her that she is a discriminating eater. There are many foods that just don't taste right or feel right in her mouth. This is just one part of her autism.  It a co-occurring  disorder called Sensory Processing Disorder. Her brain does not process sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes the way it should. On this day people will see that turkey will not be on her plate. Thanksgiving is meant to be a joyous occasion. If the traditional Thanksgiving foods are a part of my daughter's meal, she will be anxious and will not enjoy the day.
Instead I will pack her a lunch full of her favorite foods.
Thankfully for us our family members understand my daughter's challenges. They love and accept my daughter just the way she is.
I do worry that as my daughter gets older that she will feel bad that she cannot enjoy such a wide variety of foods. I worry that others might tease her and make her feel bad. To help her with this, she will soon begin feeding therapy through occupational therapy. My wish is for my child to not feel stressed about food.

On this day of giving thanks, I'm thankful for family members who understand that while the turkey is an important part of the day, it is also a day for making memories with loved ones.
Here's a letter expressing my gratitude:

Dear Family,
I just wanted to say thanks for keeping mum about my daughter not eating the foods you so lovingly prepared. I know that you know that this is no reflection of the love that she feels for you. She cherishes the time spent with you. In her mind the fact that you love and support her in spite of her challenges means the world to her. As her mom your acceptance of her as a member of your extended family is huge. Unlike those with visible disabilities, hers are hidden. That doesn’t make them any less difficult for her or us as her parents. In some ways it is harder. Thanks again for going out of your way on this memory making day. My daughter cherishes these moments.
One of the many Thanksgiving foods that my daughter will not be eating.
Picture curtesy of my husband.

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Daughter the Spider Slayer

We're celebrating again!

I was getting the cobwebs out of my head this morning when Princess tip toes into my room to ask me to help her be brave because she needs to kill a "Poisonous Daddy Long Legs." As I'm wondering why one of the servants or even my knight is not helping out with this lovely project and rubbing the remnants of the sandman's visit out of my eyes, I come to my senses, put my game face on and gear up for the battle of the decade. 
Princess asked me what weapon she should choose. I considered all of the options and suggested the best one of all of them, a fly swatter. Yep it has more reach than the shoe.
Princess was very brave, faced her fears and hit the spider but not enough to kill it. As he tried to climb higher I grabbed our weapon and gave him a good smack which sent him toppling to the ground. He was persistent and tried to scurry away but I swatted him one last time. 
Then I had Princess grab some tissues and flush him away to far far away places.
High fives were given all around.
Some of you may be wondering what the fuss was all about but others of you know what we have been through with all things creepy and crawly because you yourself have been there or you have a child who has a fear of insects. There was a time when the mere mention of the word spider would send chills up my daughter's spine. There was a time when she would cower in fear or run away at the sight of them. She's come a long way though. Just recently we were reading about the ten deadliest spiders in the world. Then today Princess requested my back up. I did right by her and supported her every step of the way.

I'm curious. What battles have you or your child fought or overcome recently? Big or small I want to celebrate them all of them with you.

*Note: This post first appeared on my Facebook page on October 25, 2014. I decided to repost it again.

Friday, November 20, 2015

To the Judgmental Lady at the Grocery Store

I know you think you were doing me a favor. I know that in your mind I am doing permanent damage to my daughter. You think that since you and your mom are not speaking to one another that it is your duty to speak up when you see something that you feel might be harming another mother/ daughter relationship. First of all I should say thanks for not thinking that I was my daughter's grandmother. I get that a lot. At least you did know that I was her mother. The rest you got all wrong though. What you don't know is that my child was doing something dangerous. She was climbing on the grocery cart as we were exiting the store. It was dark and the parking lot was busy. I was protecting her. I did not want her to get injured. Then when I tried to explain to you that my daughter has challenges, you just countered back that I needed to show more love towards my daughter. Here's what else you don't know. I have been and will continue to be the most loving and supportive mom that I can be for my daughter.

I have made many sacrifices for my child. When my daughter lost her beloved KiKi (Blankie) last week, who went back to the mall that was over 40 minutes away? Her father was the driver, but I went too. When my daughter needed me to advocate on her behalf, I not only quit my teaching job, but I researched for hours about ways to get her the help she needed.  I knew that having the diagnosis of bipolar disorder was only a part of the picture for my daughter. I asked everyone I knew until the right person pointed us in the direction of a top notch pediatric neurologist. This new diagnosis will mean that my daughter will have access to more services. Did you know that I email her teacher almost every day? Sometimes it is just to let her know that she will be trying a new food at lunch that day. "What's the big deal?", you say. I tell The Best Teacher in the Universe these things so that she can be encouraging to my daughter when I am not able to be there.
The other day my daughter came home from school and asked if I had been baking cookies because she smelled the yummy candle that I was burning. Guess what I baked her the next day? Cookies!!
You may be wondering about the hard times when my daughter and I don't see eye to eye. I get that. I worry about that too. I also work on my part in that. I show my daughter kindness and forgiveness when she does something that hurts my feelings like when she tried to claim my new blanket as her own. Sure there was a consequence, but we also talked it through. I show her unconditional love as best as I can.
Of course there are times when I make mistakes. I am quick to apologize and admit my faults to her. It's what a loving mom does.
With as many diagnoses that she has, my daughter's got a long hard road ahead of her. I know that she might not always like me, but I hope that she knows how much I love her.
In the future maybe you can keep your thoughts inside of your head. Perhaps you can see a counselor or other trusted professional so that you can figure out how to mend your relationship with your own mother.  If this relationship is beyond repair, maybe you can learn how to move on.  I know that for me I am doing what I need to do for my relationship with my daughter.

This is a picture of my daughter reading her book at the beach when I'd much rather have her enjoying the waves. Guess what? In that moment in time she wanted to read so I kept my thoughts to myself. I was just grateful that she wasn't on her electrical device like the lady in the background.

You can follow our story on Facebook  as well.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What a Doll and Some Online Friends Taught My Daughter About Acceptance

I have an eleven year old daughter who is completely obsessed with Ever After High and Monster High. She loves watching the movies, playing the video games, reading their books and of course wants to buy every single doll that Mattel puts out. This company has done a fabulous job of marketing to tweeners like my daughter. The one thing they may need to work on is quality control in their product line. Never fear though, this company's snafu was not my daughter's undoing.  We had some special friends who helped us figure out what to do.
Faybelle Thorn

Recently, my daughter bought Ever After High's Faybelle Thorne. Being the responsible mom that I am, I made my daughter use her own hard earned money to purchase this doll. My child was so excited to rip into the package to hold this doll that she did not wait until we got home. She opened it in the car. Normally this is not a problem for her. She has figured out how to circumnavigate the Houdini like packaging. On this day, as we were driving home, I heard a shriek from the back seat. I almost pulled over to the side of the road, because I was certain that my daughter had cut herself on the plastic case. Before doing so, I inquired as to what the problem was. In a heartbroken voice my daughter told me that her new doll had two right feet. In her mind the world was going to come to an end. We'd already had a long day, so I convinced her that we would survive and figure things out once we got home. 
When we arrived at our humble abode, I quickly inspected the doll and sure enough she had two right feet. We had no way of knowing that this was going to happen because in the sealed package the doll had boots on.
What?!!!! Two right feet???

After we settled in a bit, I shared the story on my Facebook page. I asked my followers what we should do. Some said we should take it back, others said we should contact the company, but the overwhelming majority said I should use this as an opportunity to teach my child about differences. My girl has an invisible disability herself. She has bipolar disorder with a splash of autism. She wants so desperately to be accepted and loved for who she is as a person. I seized this opportunity as a chance to show her that people with visible disabilities want the same thing as she does.
Once I processed everything, I went into my daughter's room and told her that she should keep the doll. I explained that she should celebrate its disability. The next thing I knew my child was fashioning a leg brace for Faybelle out of blanket fleece and tape. It was the cutest thing ever. She really embraced the concept of accepting her doll's imperfection. I couldn't have been prouder of my girl.
Faybelle with her leg brace.

Sometimes we need others to help us realize the important things we need to teach our children. This time it was some strangers in far off places who I may never meet in person, but who I have already met and become friends with in my heart. Thank you dear ones.

You can follow our story on Facebook.